how do you treat Sciatica?
I apologize for the long answer, but you need a comprehensive reply.
Those with lower back pain have historically been prescribed bed rest in order to offer relief for aching bones and joints. Research in recent years has suggested that bed rest alone will not offer relief for those suffering from nerve pain such as sciatica. Staying active may be more beneficial for those who suffer from back pain. Not to say that you should be running marathons! Activity means being up and mobile for periods of time that are not enough to cause further pain and aggravation to your back. Some physicians may prescribe specific exercises, or some may simply suggest walking.
A Dutch study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed 183 patients with sciatica. Half of these were counseled to follow a regimen of bed rest with breaks only for bathing and using the toilet. The other half were instructed to remain active as usual. The patients symptoms were evaluated after two weeks and again after twelve weeks. Whether they had rested or not, the patients symptoms in the two groups were consistent. Two thirds reported improvement and both groups recorded similar numbers of days off work and subsequent surgeries.
Pain is best treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or codeine (in acute cases).
In some cases a cortisone like drug may be injected into the epidural space surrounding the spinal column. This procedure is similar to the epidural used during childbirth. A course of this type of treatment may offer temporary relief, but does not address the root of the problem.
Some patients with sciatica may find significant relief from surgery. In cases of herniated discs, a surgical procedure called a laminectomy may be performed. In this procedure, a portion of the posterior arch is removed to relieve pressure on affected nerve tissues.
In cases of spinal stenosis, the portion of bone that is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve system can be removed.
Surgery is not for everyone. However, for those who have shown no sign of improvement in four to six weeks and who have had CT scans (computed tomography) or MRI that show a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, surgery may offer significant relief.
Some quick and easy remedies:
Ibuprofen. Take it every 4 hours as directed, even a day or two after the pain goes away. Helps make sure the inflammation is gone.
Alternate ice packs and heating pad at 15 minute intervals for total of one hour at least once a day.
Have someone gently pull on the leg that is affected.
Also, alternate heating pad and ice. Sit on each at 15 minute intervals. Another trick that sometimes help is having someone gently pull on the leg that is affected.